Is Nirvana the Most Cover-able Band of All Time?


I wonder how many punks, metalheads, and weirdo rockers of all stripes consider Nirvana their gateway drug into rock music. For a band that consistently jocked underground legends like Meat Puppets and Wipers, they sure had a knack for turning those influences into memorable, sing-along anthems that exposed a pre-internet public to the drained, midtempo then-current sound of the Pacific Northwest rock underground. I can’t even count how many acquaintances of mine have said that Nevermind was what got them into rock and roll. It makes sense, then, that live Nirvana covers are in plentiful high school talent shows, backwater town dive bars, and even from respectable musicians playing massive venues.

This is a great cover

This is not

Other rock bands have been as popular as Nirvana (Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Metallica, etc.) but those bands’ songs usually require a fair amount of instrumental proficiency to be performed at all. On the other hand, few Nirvana songs are difficult to play from a technical standpoint. That means both that kids just learning their instrument can jam along to the songs, and that a skilled band can work out a suitable cover version in just one or two practices. For evidence, look no further than 2015’s Whatever Nevermind, a compilation released by Robotic Empire and featuring most of my favorite bands covering Nevermind, in original album track order.

I meant to get around to writing about this specific comp last year, but a new 7″ from Arizona’s primary sludge export Goya finally gave me the kick in the pants to talk about dope Nirvana covers. To me the only weak point on Whatever Nevermind was Circa Survive‘s too-delicate treatment of “Drain You”, but Goya’s version stomps mightily and adds just a touch of beard to a satisfying true-to-source cover.

You can preorder this 7″ and the rest of Goya’s catalog at their Bandcamp page. (FYI their bandcamp url is, so you already know you like them.)

In this comment section –  What is your favorite Nirvana cover? For how many reasons was Nirvana the greatest band ever? Is Nirvana the most overrated garbage you have heard in your life? Did Nirvana kill metal in the 90’s? If you responded “yes” to the previous question, are you Scott Ian on a VH1 Classic rockumentary circa 2008? ALL your shitty opinions are welcome here – that’s why this is the Toilet!

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